By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — August 4, 2020 — Pursuant to his approval of urgent humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat to speak with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov in order to clarify how Israel can immediately assist Lebanon.
At least 80 people were killed and over 4,000 injured in a massive, mushroom cloud explosion that shook the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Tuesday evening, the national broadcaster said citing the health minister. The blast was centered in the city’s port area.
Data collected by geological survey organizations show that the massive explosion in Beirut was so powerful, it created seismic waves equal to if not exceeding a magnitude 4.0 earthquake.
The US Embassy in Beirut is urging those in the area of the explosion to “stay indoors and wear masks if available” due to reports of toxic gases released from the blast.
Israel security sources say that blast was most likely caused by Iranian weapons being stored under the cover of a residential area to be transferred to the Iran backed Hezbollah terror organization for use in terror attacks against Israel.
Following the explosion, Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Israel Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi conveyed via diplomatic and security channels Israel’s offer to provide humanitarian aid and immediate medical support to the Lebanese people.
“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross George Kettani told broadcaster Mayadeen. “There are victims and casualties everywhere – in all the streets and areas near and far from the explosion.”
Israel President Reuven Rivlin said: “We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time.”